Hello, I’m Rose Shippam from West Sussex. Welcome to my online diary as I prepare for South Essex Insurance Brokers Search for a Star at HOYS.

I would like to introduce you all to Fergus, my 15.1hh coloured cob. Fergus is a true gent with impeccable manners, who is loved by everyone who meets him. He lives at home with me and my husband George, along with the chickens, turkeys and ducks, who are often share his stable.

When I first saw Fergus I wasn’t convinced he was the right horse for me, as I didn’t think he had enough front, but as soon as I rode him I was smitten. I loved the ride he gave me — forward-going but safe — and we have now been together for 4 years.

I bought Fergus from my friend Gary Keywood and he has given me a lot of help with him. As well as competing in coloured and cob classes, Fergus likes nothing more than a good old hack and we have been hunting a few times as well.

Gary had mentioned Search for a Star to me in the past, so when I saw the series advertised in Horse & Hound in the spring, I decided to bite the bullet and give it a go.

Wellington was our local qualifier so off we went and to my delight we won our class. The judges really liked Fergus and I was so excited that I couldn’t speak when we came out — I was grinning like a Cheshire cat!

Unfortunately I was brought back down to earth with a bump a week or so later when I lost my English Bell Terrier, Sybil to a bacterial infection. I breed English Bell Terriers and she was a lovely bitch. Her daughter, Babe has just had her first litter so I’ll be keeping one of those to continue the family line.

Since qualifying for HOYS we have been to Horsham, where we won the small coloureds and stood reserve champion; Ardingly, where we won the cob class; and the Derby Meeting at Hickstead, where we got to ride in the international arena in the coloured championship.

Fergus absolutely loved it at Hickstead and charged around the ring alongside Lynn Russell and the others. I have absolutely no idea what he will be like in the atmosphere at HOYS, although he is generally more forward going outside than in, so I hope he won’t pull my arms out too much!

Although I have been to Birmingham for Crufts, I’ve never been to HOYS, even as a spectator, so it is going to be an entirely new experience for us both. In preparation I’ve been watching clips of previous year’s classes on youtube.. I’ve also bought the music they use for the Search for a Star class, which I’ve been playing it to Fergus in his stable. He seems to like it so fingers crossed that is a good sign!

Until next week…

Rose

Read Rose’s second diary

HOYS official website
SEIB Search for a Star official website